Holland's Sjoerd Marijne has taken over as the head coach of the India men's hockey team following the sacking of fellow Dutchman Roelant Oltmans. The 43-year-old Marijne, who was working as the chief coach of the India women’s team since February this year, has been asked to take over the men's team.
Meanwhile, World Cup-winning junior coach Harendra Singh has been appointed as the High Performance Specialist Coach for the India women's team.
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore announced the decisions on Twitter. "Current Chief Coach of Indian Senior Women Hockey Team, Mr. Waltherus Marijne,will take over as Chief Coach of Indian Senior Men Hockey Team," Rathore tweeted.
"Pleased to announce appt of Sh Harendra Singh, Dronacharya Award winner, as High Performance Specialist Coach fr Indian Snr Women Hockey Team," the Minister added.
Pleased to announce appt of Sh Harendra Singh, Dronacharya Award winner,as High Performance Specialist Coach fr Indian Snr Women Hockey Team— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) September 8, 2017
Current Chief Coach of Indian Senior Women Hockey Team, Mr. Waltherus Marijne,will take over as Chief Coach of Indian Senior Men Hockey Team— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) September 8, 2017
While Marijne will take charge on September 20 after returning from an ongoing tour of Europe with the women's team, Harendra will be on the job on Saturday itself.
Marijne has previously served as the chief coach of the all-conquering Dutch women's team which was bested by Britain in the 2016 Olympic final. Marijne, who has played for The Netherlands, also coached the Dutch Under-21 women's side to the World Cup title as well as the senior side to the gold medal at the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi Finals in 2015. Between 2011-2014, he was the head coach for the Netherlands Under-21 men's team.
According to a top Hockey India official, both Marijne and Harendra have been given a tenure till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The decision came was a bolt from the blue as Hockey had advertised for Oltmans' successor on its website just three days ago. HI had set September 15 as the deadline to apply for the post.
However, the official said HI withdrew the advertisement on Thursday.
"The advertisement has been withdrawn as both HI and the Sports Authority of India felt Marijne is the best candidate for the job having spent more than six months in the country," the official told PTI.
It has been learnt that Marijne was initially reluctant to take up the role. The 43-year-old Dutchman, who was appointed as the Indian women's coach in February earlier this year, has never worked with a national men's team before. But he agreed after HI and SAI convinced him.
The position for men's coach had fallen vacant after Oltmans was sacked last Saturday following a string of poor performances in the recent past. Oltmans came to India fours years ago as a High Performance Director before assuming the role of coach in 2015 following Paul van Ass' removal.
(With PTI inputs)